How to Design Parade Floats

    by Jennifer Hudock

    About the Author

    Jennifer Hudock is an author, editor and freelancer from Pennsylvania. She has upcoming work appearing in two Library of the Living Dead Press anthologies and has been published in numerous print and online journals, including eMuse, Real TV Addict and Strange Horizons. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing from Bloomsburg University.


    Whether you're designing a float for the Macy's Day Parade or your hometown, floats are a great way for organizations to get the word out on their business, charities and functions. Parade floats can be simple or complex, depending on your budget.

    Things You'll Need

    • Float committee
    • Float trailer
    • Trailer hitch
    • Props
    • Paint
    • Nails
    • Hammer
    • Sign

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    Put together a reliable team of people to work on your float. Designate a committee head and sit down together to plan out a strategy and design. Make sure that you have plenty of time to plan, design and build your float. Some float committees work for an tire year to complete a float.

    Choose a theme for your float. If the parade is based around a holiday, consider going with a holiday theme. For example, you might design a Christmas float around a famous holiday song or story, or a homecoming float around a popular high school film scene.

    Contact the parade chairperson and ask for details on float rules and regulations such as height, weight and length restrictions. These restrictions are made to ensure that your float can turn corners and fit under electrical and telephone lines. Be sure when designing you stick to regulations for safety's sake.

    Delegate the work to your committee, putting everyone in charge of an aspect of the float's creation. Have one team work on costumes, another team can design props, while a third team works on putting together a sign.

    Rent a float trailer and a trailer hitch. Most floats are built on either low-boy or hay trailers.

    Arrange your props on the trailer and secure them into place with nails. Get everyone together to decorate the float trailer and make sure that everything is placed properly.

    Dress your float riders in coordinating costumes and assign them positions in the scene. Make sure all standing positions have something to hold on to while the float is in motion, so no one gets hurt.

    • If you plan to have music or electricity on your float, make sure you have a professional electrician help you set things up.
    • If you are designing a float for children, allow them to actively participate in the design process.
    • Make sure all props are secured in place to avoid a major accident during parade time.

    Photo Credits

    • Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images